24 May 2018 - 25 May 2018 All day Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


Workshop organised by the ‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University‘ project.

We devote the fourth international workshop of the CRASSH-Mellon project, “Religious Diversity and the Secular University” to artistic representations. Throughout the nineteenth century, scholars across the disciplines fiercely debated questions about the theological, political, and historical relationships between Christianity, Judaism and Islam. As the modern research university emerged, those questions intersected with questions about the proper place of the study of religion(s) among the disciplines, in ways we have been exploring in a set of workshops this year.

The arts – ancient and modern, textual and visual, musical and dramatic – along with the new museums that exhibited them, the public and private spaces in which they were consumed and the universities in which they were studied, all provided vital loci for some of the most powerful expressions and explorations of these interconnected issues.  This workshop brings together scholars of 19th century painting, sculpture, photography, novels, poetry, and travel literature to explore the dynamics of religious diversity and its secular study through its visual, literary and multidisciplinary expressions. Our cases studies include explorations of the way Samuel Butler fictionalised the varieties of Christian life he knew as a Cambridge undergraduate, the reception of the Benjamin Disraeli in Zionist culture, the place of perhaps the first British painting to show Muslims at prayer between Orientalist scholarship and the Victorian Museum, and how, in an age of science, religious art and its theorists pondered the nature of light, sacred and physical.

Kate Nichols (University of Birmingham)
Eitan Bar Yosef (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Anna Plumridge (University of Cambridge)
Kate Flint (University of Southern California)
Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading)
Liz Prettejohn (University of York)

andrew w mellon foundation logo


‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University’ is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to support a multi-disciplinary examination of the interplay between religion, secularism, and the role of the university, reference #41600622.


Thursday 24 May 2018

11:30 - 12:00

Registration and Coffee

12:00 - 13:30

Kate Nichols (University of Birmingham)

The Civic Gospel and Images of Islam: Religious Diversity  in a Victorian Municipal  Museum

Respondent: Caroline Arscott (Courtauld Institute)

13:30 - 14:30


14:30 - 16:00

Liz Prettejohn (University of York)

The Scandal of M. Alphonse Legros

Respondent: Ayla Lepine (Westcott House/University of Essex)

16:00 - 16:30

Tea and coffee

16:30 - 18:00

Kate Flint (University of Southern California)

Painting Light

Respondent: Clare Pettitt (King’s College London)

Friday 25 May 2018

09:30 - 11:00

Eitan Bar Yosef (Ben Gurion University of the Negev)

Israeli Disraeli: Benjamin Disraeli’s Afterlives in Israeli Culture

Respondent: Majid Hannoum (University of Kansas)

11:00 - 11:15

Tea and coffee

11:15 - 12:45

Anna Plumridge (University of Cambridge)

The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler and Christianity at Cambridge in the 1850s

Respondent: Lucia Tantardini (University of Cambridge)

12:45 - 14:00


14:00 - 15:30

Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading)

Ghettos of the Imagination

Respondent: Chana Morgenstern (University of Cambridge)

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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk